Accessible Version
Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

When you have kids, you have questions. We want you to be informed about your child's oral health, and our dental team is always happy to answer your questions, no matter how large or small.

Here are a few of the questions that we frequently hear from our patients. If you have a concern that you don't see answered here, please don't hesitate to call us at (718) 761-7316.


When we're talking about cavities, the key word is “prevent.” We can’t stop all cavities, but we can help create an environment in your child’s mouth that makes their teeth less prone to decay.

Healthy Teeth Start with Oral Hygiene

You can do this at home by helping your child brush twice a day and floss once and watching the foods they eat. Brushing twice a day and flossing once eliminate bacteria and leftover food particles that combine to create cavities.

You can never start oral hygiene too soon, and for infants, we recommend wiping down their gums with wet gauze to eliminate plaque buildup.

Dental Sealants and Fluoride Protect Teeth

Another way to prevent cavities is with protective fluoride treatments and dental sealants applied by your pediatric dentist. Sealants cover the surface of hard-to-clean teeth like molars, which creates a protective barrier from bacteria and helps avoid cavities.

When you pair conscientious oral hygiene with dental exams and cleanings at Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry, you are doing everything you can to help prevent cavities.

Schedule Your Child's Next Dental Exam

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends routine dental visits every six months, beginning on your child's first birthday. Even if your little one doesn't need treatment at that time, these routine visits help set the stage for a lifetime of good oral health habits. 

If it’s time to schedule your child’s first dental visit or you have an older child who’s due for their next cleaning and exam, please call our Staten Island dental office. A member of our team will be happy to help you schedule a convenient appointment.

ICON Resin Infiltration

At Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry, we offer ICON resin infiltration to help prevent cavities and treat white spots on teeth (demineralized areas). Resin infiltration treatment penetrates and fills tooth enamel to eliminate white spots without numbing, injections, or drilling. 

ICON resin infiltration is a comfortable, straightforward procedure. First, we thoroughly dry the tooth, then use a special gel to etch its surface slightly. After a brief wait, we rinse off the gel, check the tooth, and repeat the steps. 

The final step is to seal the treated area by applying infiltration liquid to the surface, smoothing and polishing the tooth. 

Helps Prevent Cavities 

In some cases, resin infiltration also enables us to treat a tooth defect before it becomes a cavity. Rather than waiting to see what develops, our dentists can treat the defect with resin infiltration right away and prevent it from becoming a full-blown cavity. This also eliminates the need to drill and fill the tooth later. 

Minimal Intervention (MI) Paste

Minimal Intervention (MI) Paste comes in a tube like toothpaste and supplies calcium and phosphate to strengthen teeth. This non-invasive treatment protects  baby teeth and offers numerous benefits: 

  • Strengthens tooth enamel
  • Restores mineral loss by boosting calcium and phosphate 
  • Helps combat dry mouth by improving saliva flow
  • Contains no fluoride and is safe for children under age six

Can These Treatments Benefit Your Child?

If you have questions about whether ICON resin infiltration or MI Paste can benefit your child, please call our Staten Island, NY dental office. 

The age when the first tooth appears is highly variable from child to child. However, most will develop teeth between 6-12 months of age. Around three months, you may notice increased saliva or your baby putting their hands in their mouths. This is normal but does not indicate that they’re teething.

In most cases, the first teeth to emerge are the lower front teeth (lower central incisors); by age three, most children have all of their baby teeth.

Start Brushing when the First Baby Tooth Arrives

As soon as the first tooth emerges, you should start developing an oral hygiene routine. Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste on a baby toothbrush and clean all around it. It’s crucial to brush after the last meal of the day and never put your child to sleep with a baby bottle as it can lead to tooth decay.

Schedule Baby's First Dental Visit

Around this time, you should also incorporate routine dental visits as part of preventive dental care. The American Academy recommends that children start visiting the dentist when the first baby tooth appears or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.

Fluoride Applications to Prevent Cavities

If you live near a well or your child drinks bottled water exclusively, your dentist may recommend a fluoride varnish. Fluoride is a mineral that hardens tooth enamel that also strengthens teeth, and it helps prevent cavities. 

Call with Your Questions or to Schedule an Appointment

At Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry, we hope you consider us as a resource for all your questions. We are always available to answer your questions, and you can reach us by phone at (718) 761-7316 or email us using our convenient online contact form

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry is a specialty area that requires two to three additional years of specialized training beyond dental school. Our pediatric dentists, Dr. Michelle Flanigan and Dr. Yelena Lange, also participated in one-year residencies in a hospital setting.

Specialized Dentistry for Kids in Staten Island

Pediatric dentistry is a specialty area focused exclusively on children and their dental needs from infancy through the teen years. Obviously, a two-year-old with baby teeth will have different needs than an adolescent preparing for orthodontic treatment. At each stage, the pediatric dentist guides the child’s dental growth and development, setting the stage for excellent oral health in the future.

Pediatric dentists are also specifically trained to deal with children with special health care needs and work with behavioral issues.

We Also Offer Orthodontic Treatment!

A pediatric dentist can also offer orthodontic treatment, and we are pleased that our team includes Dr. Sara Skurnick, an experienced and respected orthodontist in Staten Island. Dr. Skurnik provides comprehensive orthodontic treatment for children and adults, including traditional braces and Invisalign.

With our combined specialties and comprehensive treatments, the team at Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry can treat children of all ages and with a wide array of dental needs.

Call to Schedule Your Child’s Next Dental Exam

At Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry, we are passionate about providing happy, positive dental visits for kids of all ages. Whether your little one is ready to jump up into the dental chair the first time or they need a little coaxing, we will work with their unique needs.

Please call us to schedule your child’s next dental exam and teeth cleaning. We are pleased to serve families in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Bayonne, and surrounding towns.

Pediatric Dental Emergencies

It’s a terrible feeling when your child knocks out a tooth, but a baby tooth isn’t as severe as a knocked-out permanent tooth. Don’t try to place the baby tooth back in the socket, as this could damage the permanent tooth in the gums. 

Emergency Dental Care for Your Child

Call Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry as soon as possible, and we’ll work you into our schedule so we can perform an exam and take x-rays. Be sure to bring the baby tooth with you. Our pediatric dentists will look for damage to surrounding baby teeth and unerupted permanent teeth. However, in most cases, treatment is not necessary.

The main concern with a knocked-out baby tooth is that neighboring teeth can start to drift into the space and prevent the permanent tooth from erupting correctly. To avoid this, Dr. Michelle or Dr. Yelena may recommend a spacer to close the gap and prevent surrounding teeth from shifting. You can control any bleeding by applying gauze and holding it in place with light pressure.

Children’s Emergency Dentistry in Staten Island

At Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry, we understand how scary a dental emergency can be, especially when it’s your child. Call our dental office right away, and we will see your little as soon as possible. 

If your child significantly breaks or fractures a permanent tooth, contact Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry immediately. Acting quickly can help us save the tooth, prevent infection, and minimize the need for complex dental treatment.

Steps to Take When Your Child Breaks a Tooth

After you call our emergency dental office in Staten Island, you can take the following steps:

  1. Try to locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to your appointment.
  2. If bleeding is involved, apply a gauze pad to the area to control it.
  3. Control swelling with a cold compress on the face near the area of injury for 20-minute intervals.
  4. Help relieve any pain by having your child rinse with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt to one cup of water)
  5. Avoid further damage to the tooth by giving your child soft foods

You can give your child an OTC pain medication cleared by your pediatrician, but do not hold aspirin or any other painkiller against the tooth.

How We Treat Cracked and Broken Teeth

When our pediatric emergency dentists see your child promptly after the trauma, we can evaluate the extent of the injury and look for signs of less obvious damage to the tooth.

The treatment we provide depends on the severity of the trauma to the tooth. If the chip, fracture, or break affects only the outer tooth enamel, placing a tooth-colored filling material may be all that’s needed.

If the tooth is cracked but has no nerve damage, we might recommend a dental crown for protection; if the injury involves nerve damage, we may need to perform a root canal before placing the crown. If the injury extends to the yellow dentin beneath tooth enamel, we may need to prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection.

We Are Here for Your Child's Dental Emergency

The first step with any childhood dental emergency is to call our Staten Island pediatric dentists at (718) 761-7316, and we will see you promptly. 

If your older child has a toothache, ask if they can be specific: Is the tooth pain constant or severe? Does it only hurt when you bite down? This is information that can help your dentist determine what your child might be experiencing.

Symptoms of a Toothache

Younger children may not be able to communicate verbally, but there are symptoms of a toothache that you can look for:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Swelling around the gums and tooth
  • A bad taste in the mouth

If you suspect your child has a toothache, call our Staten Island pediatric dental office and let us know what’s going on.

Steps to Take If Your Child Has a Toothache

It’s crucial to contact us right away if the toothache lasts longer than a day or two. Be sure to let us know if your child’s experiencing severe pain, as this is may be a sign that a serious condition is developing.

After you call Staten Island Pediatric Dentistry to let us know what’s going on, you can take the following five steps:

  1. Gently clean the area around the affected tooth.
  2. Have them rinse their mouth with warm water.
  3. Use floss to remove any food particles lodged between teeth.
  4. Apply cold compresses if the face is swollen.
  5. Do NOT place aspirin on the tooth.

Call Us with Your Child’s Dental Emergency

Our Staten Island, NY dental office is open six days a week, with extended evening hours on Monday and Tuesday, so there’s a good chance that you can reach us right away.

We are also pleased to provide emergency dentistry for children in Brooklyn, Bayonne, and surrounding areas.

Not finding what you need?
If you have difficulty using our website, please email us or call us at (718) 761-7316
View the ADA Accessibility Statement